computer software http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/3202/all en-US 5 Home and Family Items to Avoid Buying Used http://www.wisebread.com/5-home-and-family-items-to-avoid-buying-used <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-home-and-family-items-to-avoid-buying-used" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/car_seat_2.jpg" alt="Child in car seat" title="Child in car seat" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="163" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Gently used clothes at the local vintage shop or even a &ldquo;pre-owned&rdquo; car, as the dealers like to say, can prove a recipe for both savings and style.</p> <p>But there are scores of important family and household items that should probably remain first-run purchases, dismal economy or not. Here&rsquo;s a look at five in particular. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-stuff-i-try-never-to-buy-new">The Stuff I Try to Never Buy New</a>)</p> <h2>Car Seats</h2> <p>Buying a used car seat is like buying a used helmet &mdash; it&rsquo;s just not safe. Once a car seat has been involved in one accident, the integrity of the car seat is ruined, and it may no longer be an effective mechanism for protecting your child. Don&rsquo;t take a chance. Always buy a new car seat.</p> <h2>Tires</h2> <p>Cars are becoming more and more expensive to maintain. The rising price of gas is forcing car owners to come up with other creative ways to save money while driving, and some are choosing to do so by purchasing used tires. Tires that have been involved in a car accident suffer just like car seats do. But you can&rsquo;t always tell if a set of tires has been in one. Consider new tires an investment in your safety.</p> <h2>Computer Software</h2> <p>Computer software is expensive, and buying a used copy can often reduce your costs by hundreds of dollars. Unfortunately, most of today&rsquo;s computer software must be licensed in order to be used. Once the software is licensed it can&rsquo;t be used again, which means that buying a used piece of software is essentially like buying a blank CD.</p> <h2>Mattresses</h2> <p>Although buying a used mattress may save you a few hundred dollars, it isn&rsquo;t necessarily sanitary or the best for your body&rsquo;s physical health. When you purchase a used mattress, you aren&rsquo;t able to judge its overall cleanliness, as problems such as bed bugs are not always visible. Mattresses also generally only have a lifespan of 8 to 10 years, and you may not be able to get an honest age from the seller. Buying an older mattress can also lead to back problems or antagonize existing physical ailments.</p> <h2>Pet Supplies</h2> <p>Purchasing used <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-yank-the-leash-on-pet-expenses">pet</a> supplies may seem like a good idea. But buying used pet supplies such as dog beds or cloth-covered cat stations can be just as unsanitary as purchasing a used mattress. Plus, pet odors tend to ferment over time even if they have been cleaned, so that seemingly clean dog bed you bought at a garage sale could begin to stink the first day it lays out in the sun. The exception to purchasing used pet supplies is the kennel. A wire crate can be fully sterilized, and buying a used one can save a pet owner anywhere from $50 to $100.</p> <p>Buying used isn&rsquo;t always a bargain, and certain used items may actually cost you more in the long run in terms of maintenance or having to repurchase the same item only a few months later. If you choose to buy used, however, always make sure to properly review the items in person prior to purchase.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chris-birk">Chris Birk</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-home-and-family-items-to-avoid-buying-used">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-11"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-questions-to-ask-before-buying-refurbished-appliances">4 Questions to Ask Before Buying Refurbished Appliances</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-pet-shampoos">The 5 Best Pet Shampoos</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-can-buy-with-5000">What You Can Buy With $5,000</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-11-best-and-worst-things-to-buy-used">The 11 Best and Worst Things to Buy Used</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-pet-flea-shampoos">The 5 Best Pet Flea Shampoos</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping buying used children computer software mattress pets tires Thu, 21 Jul 2011 10:24:09 +0000 Chris Birk 628750 at http://www.wisebread.com Excel: The Most Underrated Software You Already Own http://www.wisebread.com/excel-the-most-underrated-software-you-already-own <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/excel-the-most-underrated-software-you-already-own" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000015680335Small_2.jpg" alt="Surprised man opening computer" title="Surprised man opening computer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="137" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There&rsquo;s a program on your computer you&rsquo;ve used hundreds of times that can do all kinds of amazing things:</p> <ul> <li>It can grab information from the web and create crazy calculations and fancy charts.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>It can take pretty much any kind of data file and allow you to play with the data in an infinite number of ways.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>It can take thousands of pages of text and give you a really good idea of what the main points are.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>It can make a lot of processes automatic and save you hundreds of hours of mindless work.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>It can beat Garry Kasparov at chess.*</li> </ul> <p>Microsoft Excel is one of those programs we&rsquo;ve all used at least a little bit, but most of us haven&rsquo;t even scratched the surface of what it can do.</p> <p>There&rsquo;s a reason why Excel costs $139 and Microsoft Office costs $279 &mdash; this is really powerful software that&rsquo;s capable of some truly amazing things.</p> <p>But very few of us take full advantage of it.</p> <h2>The Power of Excel</h2> <p>I got my first exposure to Excel&rsquo;s power a few years ago with an incredible <a href="http://www.thewriterscoin.com/2011/03/25/excel-and-efficiency/">stock-analysis spreadsheet</a> that blew my mind. Then, a couple of weeks ago, I got stuck with a really tedious project and decided to <a href="http://www.thewriterscoin.com/2011/03/18/when-its-ok-to-disobey-your-boss/">disobey my boss</a> &mdash; I found a better way thanks to some developing ninja Excel skills.</p> <p>It saved me from wasting a bunch of hours of my day, and it made me look like a smart dude. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-efficient-ways-to-boost-productivity">5 Efficient Ways to Boost Productivity</a>)</p> <p>But let&rsquo;s face it &mdash; learning Excel isn&rsquo;t fun unless it&rsquo;s going to help you solve an immediate problem. It&rsquo;s like an umbrella &mdash; we only care about it when we need it. Once we&rsquo;re done, we throw it in the back of the closet and forget about it. But it pays off to learn some of the basics for the next time you run into a roadblock.</p> <h2>Learn by Doing</h2> <p>The next time you get stuck with a tedious task of collecting or organizing data, Google what you&rsquo;re trying to do along with &ldquo;excel,&rdquo; and you&rsquo;ll get an answer. You may find it tricky, because you have to come up with the overall plan and then figure out how Excel can help. But odds are there is a way Excel can make things easier for you.</p> <p>So if you&rsquo;re trying to take thousands of emails and you want to parse out some of the data, you&rsquo;d search for &quot;parsing data excel.&quot; It won&rsquo;t work 100% of the time, and you may have to learn some Excel lingo, but <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-become-an-expert">eventually you'll get it</a>.</p> <p>There are other places to pick up some Excel basics. <a href="http://blogs.office.com/b/microsoft-excel/">Microsoft&rsquo;s Excel blog</a> is a good place to start. And pay attention to any and all Excel sheets you come across to see how they do certain tasks.</p> <p>Most important of all: If you meet people who are masters at Excel, ask tons of questions, get their email addresses, follow them on Twitter, and follow them on Facebook. These people will be a HUGE help as you learn all the cool, advanced stuff Excel can do. Believe it or not, people are still more useful than Google.</p> <h2>Improving Your Value</h2> <p>Excel is a powerful piece of software than can help you not only be more efficient at work, but make you look good. If you get really good at it and become the &ldquo;go to&rdquo; person for any and all advanced Excel tasks, you&rsquo;ve just become one of the most valuable people at your workplace.</p> <p>Think about it this way &mdash; if you&rsquo;re the doorway to getting things done faster and more efficiently, you just turned yourself into a VIP. And VIPs are invaluable to every company.</p> <p>Anyone else out there have a story of how Excel made your job easier and/or made you look good?</p> <p><em>*Microsoft Excel may or may not be actually able to beat Garry Kasparov at chess.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carlos-portocarrero">Carlos Portocarrero</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/excel-the-most-underrated-software-you-already-own">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-back-to-school-iphone-apps">10 Back-to-School iPhone Apps</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/productivity-tips-to-carry-you-through-2012">Productivity Tips to Carry You Through 2012</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/could-the-chromebook-crush-windows">Could the Chromebook Crush Windows?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-a-computer-more-efficiently">How to Use a Computer More Efficiently</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-calculate-future-value-and-why-it-matters">How to Calculate Future Value, and Why It Matters</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Education & Training Productivity Technology computer software efficiency excel Microsoft Mon, 25 Apr 2011 09:36:56 +0000 Carlos Portocarrero 525856 at http://www.wisebread.com Ways to Make Better Use of Your CRM Tools http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/ways-to-make-better-use-of-your-crm-tools <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/managing/article/ways-to-make-better-use-of-your-crm-tools-thursday-bram" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/managing/article/ways-to-make-better-us...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/ways-to-make-better-use-of-your-crm-tools" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000012779487Small.jpg" alt="Businesspeople at computers" title="Businesspeople at computers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Customer relationship management tools (or CRM tools) can make a world of difference when it comes to making sure your clients and customers get the best possible service. There are a wide variety of tools you may be using, from glorified address books to complex systems that track every little interaction you have with a customer. The trick, though, is getting the most use out of those tools that you are using without overwhelming yourself with extra work.</p> <p><strong>Track What You Know About Your Customers</strong></p> <p>The first step some businesses need to take is actually making use of a CRM system after setting it up. Tracking information does usually represent a bigger time commitment, especially if your interactions with customers take place over the phone or face-to-face (there are plenty of automated options that can collect data if you're communicating online, though). You may simply have to add information in by hand after a meeting &mdash; a daunting prospect even if you're only thinking about a few clients. On top of that, you need to go back and use the information you've compiled. It's important to build the habit of both recording data and accessing it in your CRM tools for both you and your employees.</p> <p>It's important to fully investigate the capabilities of your CRM tools as well. The options out there are becoming more robust every day, building in new features that &mdash; depending on your industry and your target audiences &mdash; can help you stay more closely in contact with both potential and existing clients. Some tools, for instance, will now automatically go out and find the social media profiles of anyone you add to your contacts. When you pull up information on an individual, you can see what they've recently posted to Twitter or Facebook. Of course, that's only helpful if you're working with clients who are active on social networking sites &mdash; but there are plenty of CRM tools customized to different industries, and it's useful to have one with features that really match up with how you do business.</p> <p><strong>Make Use of Your Information</strong></p> <p>On the most immediate level, if you're in the habit of checking up on a customer's profile every time you interact with him, you can make sure that you're providing the best service for his needs. You may be able to see at a glance what he's bought in the past, what he's using his purchases for and even if he's needed a lot of customer service. That sort of information makes it much easier to upsell a customer on training packages or a premium version of a past purchase.</p> <p>But that sort of information is only the first step you can take. If, for instance, you know that customers who buy a certain product from you are typically interested in a follow-up product six months later, a good piece of CRM software can remind you to contact customers six months after their purchase or even spit out an email based on their purchasing history at just the right time. The deciding factor may simply be the scale of the number of customers you need to contact.</p> <p>Some CRM software packages offer the ability to analyze certain information about your customers as well, making it much easier to target the prospective clients who are most likely to buy from you or to evolve new services or products that make it easier for customers to come back and buy from you multiple times. Once you have a clear picture of your clients, you'll be able to do a lot with your information.</p> <p><strong>Simplify Your Data Collection</strong></p> <p>The biggest barrier to using your CRM tools to the fullest extent of their abilities is collecting enough information to make them truly effective. The level of difficulty depends quite a bit on your business model. If you work one-on-one with your clients, and collecting a lot of information is just a natural part of being able to help them choose the right product or service (usually because it's a higher-ticket item), getting the details you need to be able to better serve your customers can be relatively easy. If, however, you're dealing with your customers in a retail setting and they're simply making what is, in their minds, a quick purchase, convincing them to even provide you with an email address so that you can follow up can be a very tough sell. There's a certain suspicion that many buyers have that leads them to the belief that they shouldn't give out any information about themselves. You have to overcome those concerns, as well as understand them.</p> <p>That means that to make sure that you're getting full value for your CRM tools, you need to make sure that you're collecting the information you need &mdash; preferably, in such a way that doesn't involve you tracking down each detail and entering it yourself. A customer survey, for instance, can help you get some of the information you need, especially if you can make it worth your customers' while to fill out their own information. Having a good reason that your customers would want you to follow up with them can also be useful &mdash; if you offer some sort of support, you can ask your clients for a little information, if only to make sure you know who has what product.</p> <p><strong>Build the Habit</strong></p> <p>One of the best things you can do for your business is to build the habit of using your CRM tools and analyzing the information you have about your customers on a regular basis. You can find ideas for new products, improve client retention, and generally do a better job of helping your customers solve their problems, just from the information you have in your CRM software. You have the tools to better understand your customers and their needs at your disposal, so why not make full use of them?</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/thursday-bram">Thursday Bram</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/ways-to-make-better-use-of-your-crm-tools">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cant-get-a-bank-loan-8-other-ways-to-finance-your-business">Can&#039;t Get A Bank Loan? 8 Other Ways To Finance Your Business</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-businesses-your-tween-can-start">13 Businesses Your Tween Can Start</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-ways-to-get-a-small-business-loan">10 Smart Ways to Get a Small Business Loan</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Small Business Resource Center computer software CRM customers small business Fri, 28 Jan 2011 23:07:16 +0000 Thursday Bram 474071 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Create an Armageddon-Proof Computer Backup System http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/how-to-create-an-armageddon-proof-computer-backup-system <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/technology/article/how-to-create-an-armageddon-proof-computer-backup-system-glen-stansberry" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/technology/article/how-to-create-an-arm...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/how-to-create-an-armageddon-proof-computer-backup-system" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000014218954XSmall.jpg" alt="Upset man with computer" title="Upset man with computer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It took a major catastrophe for me to realize just how important having a fail-proof backup system for your computer is. I'll spare you the gory details of my experience with a fried hard drive, but I will relay the important lesson that I learned: The cost of losing all of your data, ideas, photos, and anything else you hold valuable on your computer is exponentially higher than that of any external hard drive. If you have a small business, odds are most of your business operations live on your computer as well. Losing any data on your machine could set your business back weeks or more. For small businesses, that is truly catastrophic. To ensure you're not a hard-drive crash away from major business and personal catastrophe, create a backup system for your computer. You can create a fail-proof, redundant backup system quickly and cheaply. Thanks to better technologies and cheaper hardware, setting up a backup system is pretty painless.</p> <h3>Redundancy Is Key</h3> <p>What scares most people are the terms used in modern computer technology. For example, most people don't understand what &quot;cloud computing&quot; is. Don't worry, you won't need to. The most important key to creating a backup system is redundancy. You want to make sure you have multiple copies of your data in different places. If it helps, think of it like diversifying your investments. You're not going to place all of your money into a single stock, are you? The same is true with backing up your computer. A good method is to back up your computer via multiple sources.</p> <h3>Step 1: Buy an External Hard Drive</h3> <p>While most people think that storing data on third-party managed servers (or the &quot;cloud&quot;) is all you need to be secure with a backup, I disagree. A physical hard drive that you can keep and maintain in your office is very important. You are in personal control of your data, and as long as the drive works, it will always hold your data. The latest version of Mac software added a built-in backup functionality called Time Machine that provides an intuitive interface for creating a backup system. Windows 7 also has a fairly straight-forward backup system as well. Having an external hard drive is a major step forward to a solid backup system. If your hard drive fails at this point, you're only losing an hour of your day to restore from the previous day's backup.</p> <h3>Step 2: Use a Remote Backup Service Too</h3> <p>As an added measure, it's a good idea to have another copy of your computer's files in case your primary backup (your external hard drive) crashes too. The chances of your hard drive and external hard drive crashing are very slim, but adding another layer of redundancy never hurts. If your office ever burned (heaven forbid!), odds are you'd lose both your computer and your external hard drive. A remote backup service can ensure that even in a rare scenario like an office fire, your data is safe. There are a few paid services that will automatically back up your core files to a remote server and only cost a few dollars each month. Think of it as cheap insurance for your business. Backblaze is an excellent service for backing up a Mac file system. MobileMe is another &quot;cloud&quot; storage service provided by Apple. Windows users can use JungleDisk, a great service for personal or business storage. Mozy is another great backup option for Windows. Advanced computer users who are familiar with technologies like the command line can use Dropbox to automatically sync up to 2 GB worth of data for free by creating symlinks outside of Dropbox's folder. For most users, though, this might be a bit too advanced. There are plenty of cloud-based storage services that could be included in this article. One only needs to do a quick search on Google to find other alternatives if none of these fit your needs.</p> <h3>My Backup Plan</h3> <p>For those wanting a real-life example of creating a multi-layered, redundant backup system, here's how I personally set up my backup system. (I tend to be a little be on the twitchy, paranoid side when it comes to losing data, and some might find this overkill. I'm OK with that.) For starters, I sync my computer to an external hard drive using Apple's Time Machine program. It syncs every hour, and runs in the background so that I don't even notice it. Secondly, I backup all of my data to MobileMe, Apple's storage and syncing service. I do this automatically, or when files change on my hard drive. And lastly, I add an extra layer of protection by using symlinks and a free Dropbox account to backup my core personal files. Like I mentioned earlier, my setup may be a more than an average person will need. Even just syncing your computer with a remote service is much better than having no redundancy at all to your precious files. It's a great feeling knowing that no matter what happens to your computer, you'll always have your data safe somewhere.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/glen-stansberry">Glen Stansberry</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/how-to-create-an-armageddon-proof-computer-backup-system">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/excel-the-most-underrated-software-you-already-own">Excel: The Most Underrated Software You Already Own</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cloud-computing-and-your-wallet">Cloud Computing and Your Wallet</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-free-media-software-for-your-windows-pc">Get Free Media Software for Your Windows PC</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/101-fantastic-freebies-for-your-pc">101 fantastic freebies for your PC</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Small Business Resource Center Technology computer backup computer software files small business Sun, 23 Jan 2011 16:57:28 +0000 Glen Stansberry 457213 at http://www.wisebread.com Get Free Media Software for Your Windows PC http://www.wisebread.com/get-free-media-software-for-your-windows-pc <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/get-free-media-software-for-your-windows-pc" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/5021980078_e558347f02_z.jpg" alt="man with laptop" title="man with laptop" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>One of the advantages of Apple computers is that they come with pre-installed software like Apple's iLife. iLife includes programs for managing digital photos, editing home movies, producing music, and making websites. The great news is that Windows users no longer have to be left out of the fun. There are free software programs available on the Internet in each of these categories. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/excel-the-most-underrated-software-you-already-own" title="Excel: The Most Underrated Software You Already Own">Excel: The Most Underrated Software You Already Own</a>)</p> <h3>Managing Digital Photos: Google's Picasa</h3> <p><a href="http://picasa.google.com/">Google's Picasa</a> includes many features similar to Apple's iPhoto. It locates photos on your computer and neatly organizes them by date. You can easily improve your photos with editing tools like red-eye elimination, cropping, straightening, or adjusting brightness. Once edits are complete, you're ready to share an album. Picasa makes it easy by syncing with Picasa Web Albums, Blogger accounts, or Facebook (with <a href="http://apps.facebook.com/picasauploader">a free plugin</a>). If you prefer video, you can turn your pictures into a movie slideshow, add background music, and automatically upload them to YouTube.</p> <h3>Editing Home Movies: Windows Live Movie Maker</h3> <p><a href="http://explore.live.com/windows-live-movie-maker?os=other">Windows Live Movie Maker</a> is easier than ever to record digital videos thanks to camcorders, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/digital-camera-buying-guide" title="How to Buy a Digital Camera">cameras</a>, and cell phones. It helps you take those clips and turn them into impressive movies with titles, credits, background music, and animated transitions. It works similarly to Apple's iMovie. Windows Live Movie Maker displays your videos in a timeline format so you can easily view the frames that you want to edit. A preview screen immediately shows what the edited video looks like. Add the finishing touches by experimenting with dozens of preloaded transitions and visual effects. Then, quickly and easily publish your movie to the web with direct links to Facebook and YouTube.</p> <h3>Producing Your Own Music: Audacity</h3> <p><a href="http://audacity.sourceforge.net/download/">Audacity</a> is not &ldquo;pretty&rdquo; software, but when you get past its rough appearance, you'll find it to be a simple tool for making high-quality recordings. Aspiring musicians will love it for fine-tuning tracks and combining multiple recordings into home-produced songs. For the more casual user, you'll find it useful for cutting your favorite song down to a 30-second ringtone or putting together a voice-over for a home movie. You start by recording from a microphone or importing an existing track. Audacity will give you a visual representation so you can edit it by selecting the portion of the audio you want to work with. You can delete sections you don't want, add in sound effects, or decrease static from your microphone. Expect to spend a little more time learning how to use it than you would with Apple's Garage Band, but with the money you'll save it should be well worth it.</p> <h3>Making a Website: Weebly</h3> <p><a href="http://www.weebly.com/">Weebly</a> is unlike the other iLife alternatives in that it's an online service. This means that you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/website-101-how-to-build-a-site-and-get-it-online" title="Website 101: How to Build a Site and Get It Online">build your website</a> by visiting and developing on weebly.com. There are many free alternatives for creating websites, but what separates Weebly is that each step is incredibly user-friendly, whether you are designing, building, or publishing. You start by selecting one of their website designs. Then, drag and drop the features you want from their toolbar onto your website. You can choose text areas, pictures, YouTube videos, maps, or many other items you're used to seeing on the Internet. When you're finished, just click &ldquo;publish&rdquo; and choose to either publish for free at &ldquo;yoursite.weebly.com&rdquo; or upgrade to something more traditional like &ldquo;www.yoursite.com.&rdquo; Weebly is even more cost-effective than Apple's iWeb, which requires you to have Apple's $99/year MobileMe service to take advantage of publishing.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>This is a guest post by Mike Lammers. Mike is a &quot;tech guy&quot; striving to make technology easier to use. He's the founder of <a href="http://ohrizon.com/" target="_blank"><span>Ohrizon.com</span></a>, a website with the motto that &quot;every overpriced software has an affordable alternative.&quot; Read more by Mike:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.ohrizon.com/fixing-photos-with-gimp/">Fixing Photos With GIMP</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.ohrizon.com/openoffice-vs-microsoft-office/">OpenOffice vs. Microsoft Office</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.ohrizon.com/too-many-passwords/">Too Many Passwords?</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mike-lammers">Mike Lammers</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-free-media-software-for-your-windows-pc">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/apple-introduces-most-outrageous-rewards-program-in-history">Apple introduces most outrageous “rewards” program in history</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-simple-guide-to-buying-the-best-travel-cameras">A Simple Guide to Buying The Best Travel Cameras</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/could-the-chromebook-crush-windows">Could the Chromebook Crush Windows?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-free-debt-management-tools">6 Free Debt Management Tools</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-best-tools-for-finding-an-apartment-on-the-cheap">10 Best Tools for Finding an Apartment on the Cheap</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Technology apple computer software computers photos programs websites Mon, 08 Nov 2010 13:00:11 +0000 Mike Lammers 280494 at http://www.wisebread.com 101 fantastic freebies for your PC http://www.wisebread.com/101-fantastic-freebies-for-your-pc <p><img width="360" height="240" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/toomany.jpg" alt="too many" title="too many" /></p> <p>Software is expensive, right? Well, not today my friends. Those fab guys and gals over at PC World have spent a whole bunch of their very valuable time and energy researching the best free downloads for your PC, and have compiled a list of the <a href="http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,130045-page,12-c,freeware/article.html">'101 fabulous freebies'</a> that you can download today, right now, no problem. And NOW is a great word.</p> <p><strong>What's on the list? Well, what do you want? </strong></p> <p>There's everything from security software to games and file management. The complete list, organized by category, is below. I can personally vouch for <a href="http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,23009/description.html"><strong>DVD Shrink</strong>,</a> a very quick and easy way to make back-up copies of your DVDs (which are invaluable for taking on vacations, road trips if you don't want to lose your originals). My wife loves organizing her many photos with <a href="http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,64528/description.html"><strong>Google Picasa</strong></a> . And <a href="http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,28124/description.html"><strong>AVG</strong></a> is a terrific free virus application. But, here's the list...you have the right to feel like a kid in a candy store!</p> <h2 class="artSubtitle">System Utilities</h2> <p>Windows XP Tweaks</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,58822/description.html">Fresh UI</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/downloads/powertoys/xppowertoys.mspx" target="_blank">Microsoft Power Toys for Windows XP</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,64567/description.html">Tweak and Tune </a></li> </ul> <p>Windows Vista Tweaks</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,64563/description.html">TweakVI Basic </a></li> <li><a href="http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,64564/description.html">VistaBootPRO</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,64565/description.html">Easy BCD</a></li> </ul> <p>Security Software</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,64535/description.html">Avast</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,7228-order,1-page,1/description.html">ZoneAlarm Free</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,28124/description.html">AVG Anti-Virus Free</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,64536/description.html">SMAC</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,64537/description.html">Microsoft Windows Defender </a></li> <li><a href="http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,22262/description.html">Spybot Search and Destroy</a></li> </ul> <p>Registry Cleaner</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,64566/description.html">TweakNow RegCleaner Standard</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,61125/description.html">Clean My Registry </a></li> </ul> <p>Hardware Utility</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,8078/description.html">Belarc Advisor</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,64350/description.html">SpeedFan</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,64543/description.html">M2 Information</a></li> </ul> <h2 class="artSubtitle">Communications and File Sharing</h2> <p>E-Mail for Free</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.gmail.com/" target="_blank">Gmail</a></li> <li><a href="http://mail.yahoo.com/" target="_blank">Yahoo Mail</a></li> <li><a href="http://ideas.live.com/programpage.aspx?versionId=5d21c51a-b161-4314-9b0e-4911fb2b2e6d" target="_blank">Microsoft Windows Live Mail</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,64538/description.html">Spamato</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,64539/description.html">Thunderbird</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,64540/description.html">Eudora</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,64541/description.html">IncrediMail</a></li> </ul> <p>File Sharing</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,64550/description.html">AllPeers</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,64553/description.html">Pando</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,64552/description.html">uTorrent</a></li> </ul> <p>Instant Messaging, Voice, and Video</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.meebo.com/" target="_blank">Meebo</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.jajah.com/" target="_blank">Jajah </a></li> <li><a href="http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,23523/description.html">Skype </a></li> <li><a href="http://www.gizmoproject.com/" target="_blank">Gizmo</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,64556/description.html">Yahoo Messenger </a></li> <li><a href="http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,8308/description.html">Trillian </a></li> <li><a href="http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,64557/description.html">Windows GAIM </a></li> <li><a href="http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,28433/description.html">Google Talk</a></li> </ul> <h2 class="artSubtitle">Blogs and News Reading</h2> <p>Personal Web</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.pageflakes.com/" target="_blank">Pageflakes</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.netvibes.com/" target="_blank">Netvibes</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.protopage.com/" target="_blank">Protopage</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.google.com/ig" target="_blank">Google Personalized Home</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.live.com/" target="_blank">Microsoft Windows Live</a></li> </ul> <p>Online RSS Reader</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,64444/description.html">Bloglines </a></li> <li><a href="https://www.newsgator.com/" target="_blank">NewsGator Online</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.google.com/reader/view" target="_blank">Google Reader</a></li> </ul> <p>Software RSS Reader</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,64516/description.html">Sage</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,64517/description.html">Active Web Reader</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,64518/description.html">Tristana RSS Reader</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,64519/description.html">MCE RSS Reader </a></li> </ul> <p>Blogging Site</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.blogger.com/" target="_blank">Google Blogger</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wordpress.com/" target="_blank">WordPress </a></li> <li><a href="http://www.livejournal.com/" target="_blank">LiveJournal </a></li> <li><a href="http://spaces.live.com/" target="_blank">Microsoft Windows Live Spaces </a></li> <li><a href="http://peopleconnection.aol.com/journals" target="_blank">AOL People Connection</a></li> <li><a href="http://360.yahoo.com/" target="_blank">Yahoo 360</a></li> </ul> <h2 class="artSubtitle">File Management</h2> <p>Desktop Search</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,61901/description.html">Google Desktop </a></li> <li><a href="http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,24670/description.html">Copernic Desktop Search</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,64561/description.html">Microsoft Windows Desktop Search</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,64562/description.html">Yahoo Desktop Search</a></li> </ul> <p>Backup and File Synchronization</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.mozy.com/" target="_blank">Mozy</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.mediamax.com/" target="_blank">MediaMax</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.xdrive.com/" target="_blank">XDrive</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,64549/description.html">Microsoft SyncToy</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,64657/description.html">Everyday Auto Backup </a></li> <li><a href="http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,62602/description.html">Microsoft Foldershare</a></li> </ul> <h2 class="artSubtitle">Productivity and Office Apps</h2> <p>Office Software and Services</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.zoho.com/" target="_blank">Zoho</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,64554/description.html">Portable Apps </a></li> <li><a href="http://docs.google.com/" target="_blank">Google Docs and Spreadsheets </a></li> <li><a href="http://www.numsum.com/" target="_blank">Num Sum</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.ajax13.com/" target="_blank">Ajax 13</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,23158/description.html">OpenOffice.org</a></li> </ul> <p>Time Management</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.backpackit.com/" target="_blank">Backpack</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.google.com/notebook" target="_blank">Google Notebook</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,64569/description.html">Sticky Notes </a></li> <li><a href="http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,64570/description.html">Easy To-Do </a></li> </ul> <p>Notepad Replacement</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,53094/description.html">NoteTab Light</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,64534/description.html">Crimson Editor </a></li> <li><a href="http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,28980/description.html">EditPad Lite</a></li> </ul> <p>Business Productivity</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.google.com/a" target="_blank">Google Apps for Your Domain</a></li> <li><a href="http://office.microsoft.com/" target="_blank">Microsoft Office Live</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.freecrm.com/" target="_blank">FreeCRM.com</a></li> </ul> <h2 class="artSubtitle">Music, Photos and Video</h2> <p>Entertainment Software</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,64558/description.html">VLC Media Player </a></li> <li><a href="http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,23102/description.html">iTunes</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,64559/description.html">Foobar2000</a></li> </ul> <p>Image Editing</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,64528/description.html">Google Picasa </a></li> <li><a href="http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,64529/description.html">Snapfire </a></li> <li><a href="http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,5648/description.html">Irfanview </a></li> <li><a href="http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,64530/description.html">StudioLine Photo Basic</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,64531/description.html">Microsoft Photo Info</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,64637/description.html">FastStone MaxView</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,64532/description.html">Media Purveyor </a></li> <li><a href="http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,23351/description.html">GIMP -- GNU Image Manipulation Program</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,64533/description.html">Paint.Net</a></li> </ul> <p>Web Video Site</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://youtube.com/" target="_blank">YouTube</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.blinkx.com/" target="_blank">Blinkx</a></li> <li><a href="http://video.yahoo.com/" target="_blank">Yahoo Video</a></li> <li><a href="http://video.google.com/" target="_blank">Google Video</a></li> </ul> <p>Multimedia Tools and Toys</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,22513/description.html">Audacity </a></li> <li><a href="http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,62105/description.html">Free iPod Video Converter</a></li> <li><a href="http://pspvideo9.com/" target="_blank">PSP Video 9</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,23009/description.html">DVD Shrink </a></li> </ul> <p>&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/101-fantastic-freebies-for-your-pc">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-buy-microsoft-office-and-other-free-alternatives-to-pricey-computer-software">Don&#039;t Buy Microsoft Office! 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